England manager Gareth Southgate defended his lack of substitutions in the team’s 1-1 draw away to Poland in World Cup qualifying.
Southgate did not make a change as England’s winning start to World Cup qualifying ended after Damian Szymanski nodded home a dramatic first Poland goal on Wednesday.
Szymanski’s 92nd-minute equaliser cancelled out Harry Kane’s second-half opener in Warsaw, though England remain top of Group I on the road to Qatar 2022.
It was the first time England did not make a sub since the Euro 1996 semi-final against Germany.
0 – England didn’t make a single substitute against Poland, the first time they have not made a sub in a match since the EURO 96 semi-final against Germany. Weary. pic.twitter.com/FC5JsaZmY8
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 8, 2021
Afterwards, Southgate was asked about his decision not to introduce fresh faces midweek.
“We were in total control of the game and to bring players into that moment when everybody was performing to a good level, and we were in control of possession,” Southgate told reporters.
“You can put players into the game who have had to sit in the stands and it’s not so easy to come on in those latter stages, so there are a couple of times where we looked at it and said now that we’re doing well, no, no problem.
“We’re going to refresh the wide players right at the end, but really, that would have been to run the clock down as much as anything. But before we could get them in, we’ve conceded the goal and once we’ve conceded the goal, again, we didn’t think that was a good moment to make a change, so that was that was why we did it.”
— England (@England) September 8, 2021
For only the second time in their last 18 major tournament qualifying matches, England failed to register victory, also failing in October 2019 against the Czech Republic.
England have not lost any of their last 18 matches against Poland (W11 D7), a run that stretches back to October 1973.
Southgate’s England, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last 16 international matches (W13 D3) – their longest streak without defeat since a 16-game run between September 1995 and November 1996.
“We knew that today if we could win the game then we were pretty much in Qatar,” Southgate said. “That isn’t the case we’ve still got some work to do.
“We could have been in an even stronger position, so that is a disappointment, but I can’t fault what the players have given over that period and the way they’ve responded to the summer.”
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